Editorial | MMA Styles: BJPenn.com Edition
In the world of Mixed Martial Arts there are enough different disciplines to make for interesting fights. Machida’s karate, Mir’s jiu jitsu, and Jon Jones’s super humman powers are prime examples. Though impressive as those skill sets are alone, it’s usually not the disciplines that garner a win for a fighter, but rather the way they use them in conjunction with other styles.
For example, Chuck Liddell is famous for his knockout power and his takedown defense. This combo allowed him to stay on his feet where he was the strongest and turn the lights out for his opponents. This tactic was known as “Sprawl and Brawl”. There are others who utilize it, but Chuck is possibly the most well known. There are other labels for fighting styles and BJPenn.com takes a look at some of the more prominent on the list.
The Lay and Pray
Mark Coleman, Mark Kerr, Tito Ortiz, Ricardo Arona to some extent, and guys like Dan Severn may come to mind. They utilized their superior ground games to gain dominant positions on the ground and hold their opponents there. In some cases this meant fifteen minutes of laying on them and stalling it out until time expired and they were awarded the decision. Many times people would find themselves watching a fighter sitting in another fighter’s guard for the extent of the bout so this tactic was given other names like Dump and Hump, Wrestle-humping, or The Human Blanket.
The Stall and Brawl
The word “brawl” in the title is misleading. This tactic consists of keeping your opponent at arm’s length and scoring just enough points with strikes to win. It is responsible for some of the most boring fights in mixed martial arts history. A prime example of this atrocious path to victory is Arlovski vs. Sylvia 3 at UFC 61. Both fought not to lose, and it made for one of the most painful bouts to watch in the modern MMA era. It is also known as Jab and Pray, Timmy Tapping for its master Tim Sylvia, and Stick and Stall.
The Canadian Sprint
Do enough damage in the round and then run away or simply refuse to engage. The reason it’s called the Canadian sprint specifically are the performances from Canadians David Loiseau at UFC 58 and Mark Hominick at UFC Fight Night 5. Loiseau spent the better half of the fight doing his best not to engage Rich Franklin, and Hominick did the same against Jorge Gurgel. This technique was later perfected by Kalib Starnes who embarrassingly and unashamedly ran from Nate Quarry for almost the entire fight. This is also known as The Jackson Action thanks to recent performances from Clay Guida against Gray Maynard, and Carlos Condit against Nick Diaz.
The Fence Defense
This is a technique that sees one fighter hold another fighter against the cage. They do just enough work so they are not separated by the referee and eek out a decision. If you would like to see this in all of its glory please watch, and by please watch I mean do not ever watch Tim Sylvia hold Brandon Vera against the fence at UFC 77. It was terrible and despite Vera’s valiant attempts to engage – Sylvia managed to put half of the audience to sleep. This is also known as The Press and Rest, The Clinch of Doom, and The Push and Smoosh.
Last, but not least let’s take a look at the worst style of fighting in UFC history.
This is in reference to the most embarrassing and frustrating fight of all time. Ken Shamrock faced Dan Severn at UFC 9 and for almost thirty minutes there was no contact. None. Zero. It was baffling even with Shamrock’s explanation of being ready to “fight for his life for thirty minutes” and that he was waiting for Severn “to come at him”. It remains the worst fight of all time because truthfully there was no fighting. Severn won the fight by split decision after a brief exchange, a few headbutts, and some at the time illegal closed hand strikes were thrown. This fight was called The Detroit Dance and is now infamous for the level of suck it achieved.